Tasty Tuesday: Roasted Tomatillo Chipotle Salsa

Okay. Confession time. After last week’s long Preparing-for-Easter-Dinner post, we ended up totally breaking from the pack and eating a non-traditional Easter dinner. I couldn’t help myself. We opted for Carnitas with all the fixins. I’m so glad we opted for the non-traditional feast for two reasons. First, a meal of Carnitas allowed me to invite last minute guests to join us for dinner; there’s always a LOT of food involved when we have carnitas. Second, it inspired my husband’s cooking whimsy.

I just love it when my husband sets out to create something new and delicious in the kitchen. He researches and experiments and chops and dices and tastes…and inevitably, something fabulous gets served. I’ve written about his Southwestern Chili and his Chile Verde, both of which are practically staple foods in our freezer during the winter. Those recipes came about as a result of his cooking whimsy. Hearing that we were feasting on Carnitas for Easter dinner sparked  in Dave the desire to create more, different, better fresh salsa. I love it.

Dave’s current passion for finding new recipes for homemade fresh salsa has already paid off. Our roots are in the Southwest and we LOVE a good salsa. We’ve been making Pico de Gallo for years but this past weekend, Dave decided that we need to expand our homemade salsa horizons. Oh. MY. He used the words, “Take things up a notch,” and “Take homemade salsa to the next level.” And indeed he did!

My favorite (so far) is a spicy Roasted Tomatillo Chipotle Salsa. This salsa doesn’t contain tomatoes, cilantro, or lime juice, resulting in a real different type of salsa. (You can always tone down the heat by using fewer chiles if you need something milder.) I’ve already resolved to keep a jar of this in the fridge at all times. You know, in case of emergencies. And fresh salsa emergencies can occur at any time.

Roasted Tomatillo Chipotle Salsa

Roasted Tomatillo Chipotle Salsa


  • 2 pounds of roasted tomatillos
  • 8 dried chipotle chiles (if you prefer very mild foods, start with only two chiles and adjust from there)
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 8 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1 ½ t. salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 t. sugar


Roast tomatillos by peeling the paper off the outside, slicing them in half, and roasting them in a shallow baking pan in a 400° oven until browned. This is also a good time to roast your whole garlic cloves as well. You can toss them in a little bit of olive oil and spread them out on a small baking dish. Roast until brown and mushy.roasting tomatillos for Roasted Tomatillo Chipotle Salsa

Meanwhile, heat up a small cast iron skillet on the stove and place the dried chipotle chiles on it. The goal is to toast these chiles and soften them up, NOT to blacken them. This toasting won’t take long, so keep a close  eye on them. After you start smelling their smoky aroma, plop them in a bowl of warm water to rehydrate for about 45 minutes.

Slice your onion and put it into that small cast iron skillet. Put it under the broiler for a few minutes until the edges start to blacken.

Put all your ingredients except for salt and sugar into a blender, add a cup to a cup and a half of water and blend until smooth.

Blended tomatillos for Roasted Tomatillo Chipotle Salsa

The salsa is quite green before you add the dark red chipotle chiles.

Add the salt and adjust to taste if you need to. Then add the sugar. This small bit of sugar won’t sweeten the salsa, per se, but it will bring out flavor and balance all the different tastes out. Be sure you taste the salsa both before and after adding the sugar so you know what I’m talking about.

Made with 8 chipotles, this salsa is HOT! If that makes you nervous (and it probably SHOULD make some of you nervous) start out with one or two chiles and work up from there. Be aware that 24 hours later, the flavors develop and mellow. This salsa isn’t nearly as hot today as it was yesterday.

We use dried chipotle peppers from Penzey’s spices. You can also find chipotle peppers in jars in the Mexican food aisle of the grocery store. You won’t need to rehydrate the chiles if they come out of a jar. I LOVE chipotles, even though it’s very easy to get the heat cranked up way too high on foods when I use them. Their rich smoky flavor just changes EVERYTHING.

Of course this salsa is delicious with chips, but it will also make a great base for simmering pork or chicken in all day long. Stir some into plain yogurt or sour cream to make a spicy sauce to pour over your enchiladas or to dip your chips in.

Roasted Tomatillo Chipotle Salsa

Even though this salsa doesn’t have tomatoes, cilantro, or lime juice in it, it’s a flavor you won’t soon forget!

Remember that if your mouth starts to feel like it’s on fire from too-hot salsa, the solution isn’t water. Drinking water seems to make the heat linger. Eat a few tortilla chips or a bit of rice to cool down. You can also grab a slice of bread to settle the burn from too many Scoville units (that’s how the hotness of peppers is measured.)

Speaking of bread, Stick Boy Bread is making their Summer Stollen again this week. Their featured dessert for this week is Mango Cheesecake. (Psssst. Mango Cheesecake will also cool off your burning mouth if you get the salsa too hot!) Sign up to get the Stick Boy newsletter so you know what delicious treats they’re baking each week.

Barb, writing for My Sister’s Kitchen



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